- A new report from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation finds states continue to fall short in efforts to close excellence gaps between high-achieving students from low-income households and those from higher grossing households.
- According to the report, 13 states received a B- in promoting academic excellence and learning opportunities for high achieving students, but policies in all states established to increase parity for low-income students received a C+ or below.
- The lack of effort behind these policies, report authors say, puts poor students at an academic disadvantage in their college selection and access potential.
Increased access for low-income students is a topic that intersects higher education, politics and industry. If poor students aren't well educated, the impact on workforce development, local and state economies and political outcomes can be stinging and generational.
Colleges and universities have tried to change the trends by becoming active in establishing lab schools and creating articulation agreements with community colleges, which are doing more to attract low-income students. State governments have taken notice, and some, including New York, West Virginia, Oregon and Nevada, have established free tuition models to encourage technical and community college training. Other states are considering such initiatives.
For four-year institutions, one solution is to strengthen workforce pipeline agreements with companies and primary schools so that student can begin career exposure and training early in their academic careers. This may be a way to distinguish high-caliber students from those who struggle, and may help certain industries to inspire and train students for fitting careers which match their aptitude and interest.